By NINA YOUNG
I walk into my local shop and I cringe. The woman behind the counter smiles at me and I know what’s coming; she hasn’t seen me since before I gave birth.
She asks me excitedly: “How is the baby?”
I look down because I don’t want to watch her reaction and I reply: “She passed away.”
I pay for my items and get out of there as quickly as possible.
Conversations like this are unfortunately now a part of my daily life; my beautiful daughter died at just 6 weeks old after an injury during her birth caused irreparable brain damage.
There was a study done recently that showed that the day of a baby’s birth is the most dangerous day of their life.
Each year three million babies die within the first month of life, with one million dying on the day they are born. In Australia around 480 babies die each year before they are even a month old.
These statistics are not something I was aware of a year ago, but now I think about them every day, because now, I am one of them. I’m a statistic. My baby is a statistic.
My pregnancy was a surprise, an unexpected but joyous surprise.
My partner and I have been together for seven years and we felt more than ready to share our love with a baby and to begin a happy family together.
From the second I saw my tiny baby on the ultrasound I became a model of healthy pregnancy. I quit smoking cold turkey, I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol, I exercised regularly, I ate the right foods and I reduced the stress in my life.
I read about every possible risk of pregnancy and I took every precaution to stop them happening. By the time I reached my due date I believed I was in the clear, every check up was fine and my baby girl was thriving.
I believed, as so many of us do, that if I had the perfect pregnancy, I would have the perfect baby. In the western world we tend to focus on the pregnancy rather than the birth because we feel secure that our advanced medical system will look after us, we know that babies might die in other countries, but they don’t die here.
Then came the birth. I was eleven days overdue and was induced, I labored for a few hours and after pushing for more than two hours it became clear that my baby wasn’t going to shift on her own.
They decided on attempting a vacuum delivery with a ventouse. I was exhausted and had no comprehension of what was really happening.